Georgia Power — Passing On The Costs to You!


Utility companies are strange beasts. On the one hand, they’re supposed to work for their shareholders. On the other, they have an obligation to provide us with low-cost utilities. The Public Service Commission is an entity that attempts to mediate this relationship with the public interest — ensuring low costs, as well as concerning themselves with the potential environmental and economic impacts of the decisions of utility companies. A problem is looming overhead though…

With the approval of SB31, Georgia Power customers were forced to pay for the new nuclear power units being built at Plant Vogtle years before they come online in 2017. Angela Speir Phelps of the consumer advocacy group Georgia Watch notes, “this results in the prepayment of $1.6 billion to Georgia Power, with 75 percent of that money profit for the company and taxes on the profit six years before the nuclear units produce a single kilowatt of power or we ever benefit from the service.”

With new EPA regulations, power plants must take better care of the air to protect the people living around their plants. But because Georgia Power has not been keeping itself clean (and in fact spending quite a tidy sum lobbying to remain dirty coal-powered), Georgia Power has decided to close 2 coal power units at Plant Branch rather than retrofitting them to make them cleaner. This decision is costing around 300 jobs, and in addition they are trying to get Georgians to pay for the lost value remaining of these coal plants because they decided to shut them down early! A total of around $45 million just for the plants. On top of this, they are asking we pay for almost another $20 million dollars for scrap & materials sitting around at the plants, and speculative planning costs — planning where nothing was actually built.

What’s worse? If something goes wrong in these new plants built, if there are cost overruns, who pays? Regular residential customers like you and I (large industrial users have lobbied hard to exempt themselves from having to pay)! And with this decision for Plant Branch, if the plants go offline early, we will be having to pay for that, too!

On March 15th, the Georgia Public Service Commission will hear a recommendation about how much of our money should be handed over to Georgia Power. Why should we be paying for Georgia Power’s bad decisions? Why, on top of that, should they be asking for a profit on these plants they’re closing? We should be there to let them know, we are paying attention. We want Georgia Power to invest in better decisions, to invest in the people of Georgia. We want the Georgia Public Service Commission to think about these things, and think about who they are elected to serve.

Join us, together with WAND and Sierra Club on March 15th, 5 PM, at the Georgia Public Service Commission building to start the return of power to Georgians…

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